VSP That lets me send my own CallerID?

Why does this seem to be so hard? And, more to the point, why are VSPs (VoIP Service Providers) so unhelpful these days? I realise that this isn’t really FreePBX related, but hopefully by putting this here I may find someone who can help. I should point out, this is only relevant for an Australian VSP – I know pretty much all of the major US VSP’s let you do this. It’s only the Australian ones who don’t seem to be interested in helping out.

A couple of my clients are set up so that they receive calls via ISDN (BRI or PRI), and make calls via VoIP. This is a reasonably standard thing to do, offers the best redundancy and means that even if your internet connection is down you can still make and receive phone calls. OK, so it’ll cost them a bit more while it’s down, but it’ll still be working. Pretty much what a business wants.

Most businesses also want to send their own CallerID on an outgoing call. But, it seems like all the VSP’s I ask either don’t do caller ID, fullstop (Nehos, Faktortel), only do caller ID of their own DID range (Engin, Koala), or are only interested in doing Caller ID if you port your number range over to them (MyTel) None of these things are all that useful, in that the user doesn’t get to keep their own DID range coming in via the nice reliable ISDN.

Koala has actually been the worst. I know they physically can do it – for a while, if you were using IAX to them, you could set your Caller ID to whatever you wanted, and they would happily honour that and send it off into the PSTN. If their call quality was a bit better, I would have happily started using them. But I rang them last week, and they said ‘Yes’ immediately, which I found suspicious, and when I explained in detail (“oh, you’re using trixbox? You’ll need to speak to the trixbox expert.” “Uh. No. I wrote trixbox” – yes, I know that’s wrong, but it seemed to be the easiest way to explain to the phone droid that I knew what I was doing) exactly what I wanted to achieve, they escalated me to someone who said that they wanted ‘the front sheet of the phone bill’ (??? WTF For? To prove that my customer has a phone? They’ve got 200 lines all around Queensland!) and then said that they couldn’t do it.

Nehos used to be quite good. But their call quality has changed recently, and it doesn’t seem anywhere near as good as it used to be. They don’t seem to be interested in sending CallerID either. Also, they have really annoying on-hold music that confuses their (or my) Echo Cancellation device, and causes the music to drop out randomly. Argh.

I did have my hopes on MyTel – I’ve been supporting them and helping them out pretty much since they started, and brought up this requirement a year ago to him, and now they can send caller ID. So I spoke to him on MSN, and the end result was him saying “Well, maybe if they spent $2000 a month I may be interested in doing this, but not for $200” – which I did think was pretty rude. Unfortunately, their call quality does seem to be pretty good, so they still win there.

I did call a couple of other VSP’s and (sigh) left a message for them, and they never bothered to call back. I do realise there’s not a huge profit margin in being a VSP. You’re not going to be buying a new ferrari every week. But surely there has to be a market for VSP with decent call quality and the ability to send Caller ID? This must be something that people want. To make cheap phone calls and send their own CallerID.
Anyone have any suggestions?

Leave a Reply